Final reactor at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant put in cold shutdown amid safety fears

The Russian-installed management at the occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) in southeastern Ukraine announced on Saturday that the last reactor at the complex had been put into cold shutdown, effectively ceasing all power production at the facility.

“Today at 7:30am the reactor unit of power unit No. 4 of Zaporizhzhya NPP was transferred to a state of ‘cold shutdown’. The operation was carried out smoothly and in accordance with regulatory requirements,” the ZNPP’s management said on its Telegram channel.

One of the six reactors at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. Photo: NTV

One of the six reactors at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. Photo: NTV

Though the exact definition varies according to reactor design, a state of cold shutdown is reached when a fission reaction is slowed very significantly or halted completely. In general, cold shutdown means that a reactor is not producing a measurable amount of electricity or heat, and is in a stable condition with very low reactivity.

The occupied plant’s management has reported multiple drone strikes in the past week, which it blamed on the Ukrainian military. On Sunday, the ZNPP management said a Ukrainian drone had struck the dome of one of the plant’s reactors, while on Tuesday, it said that a Ukrainian drone had struck the plant’s reactor hall simulator.

Ukrainian intelligence denied the accusations and said that the attacks had been staged by Russia to implicate Kyiv.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that the reports of an explosion at the plant had been “consistent with” the observations of an IAEA team at the site, and while nobody was reported to have been harmed, IAEA head Rafael Grossi warned that whoever was behind the attacks was “playing with fire”.

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